Another ex-Union-Tribune owner, real estate developer Douglas Manchester, has carried his connection with the paper’s onetime owner, Helen Copley, to the next level, having bought the late publisher’s Fox Hill estate in La Jolla for $17 million last year.
But before the deal closed, one former Copley employee wrote a letter to the city’s Historical Resources Board to attest that the building was not worthy of historic designation. “I am the retired Senior Vice-President of The Copley Press, Inc.,” wrote Robert Crouch in a February 15 missive. “I worked for the company for over 40 years. I knew Jim, Jean, and Helen Copley personally and visited their home, located at 7007 Country Club Drive in La Jolla, many, many times. I am writing this letter to inform you that I do not believe that the Copley property is, in any way, historically or architecturally significant.”
He added, “None of the Copley business conducted by Jim or Helen occurred at their residence. The residence was their home away from work, where they socialized with friends and family over the years. Further, I do not believe that the Copley property can be considered architecturally important as a good example of ‘French Eclectic’ architecture. The architecture of the home was inspired by many trips to France, and, while certainly pleasing, the home has been modified and changed over the years in keeping with their personal taste and those of David C. Copley, their son. I am sure that the Copley’s [sic], were they alive today, would agree that the home is not architecturally significant to warrant historic designation.”